Sioux Falls Zoologists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"

The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is the primary indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals and marks entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology. Animals that pass mirror test are: Humans older than 18 mo, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, Gorillas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Orcas (Killer Whales), Elephants, and European Magpies. Others showing signs of self-awareness are Pigs, some Gibbons, Rhesus Macaques, Capuchin Monkeys, some Corvids (Crows & Ravens) and Pigeons w/training. (Sorry Kitty!)

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins
for describing the complex behaviors, society,
and culture of South African Meerkats.

Meerkat Manor
The Story Begins

Meerkat Manor The Story Begins (2008) - 75 minutes
Meerkat Manor The Story Begins at Amazon.com

Witness the Beginning of a Phenomenon

Every great story has a magical beginning - especially when that story involves the real-life adventures of a unique family of meerkats known as the "Whiskers" and their most beloved member, Flower. As prequel to the Meerkat Manor television series, this feature film traces the rise of Flower from a young meerkat pup to the leader of the pack. Watch as Flower blooms into a remarkable matriarch and forges a legacy amidst the unforgiving landscape of one of the harshest deserts on the planet - the Kalahari. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg, Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins will warm your heart and leave you awed by the magic of Flower's journey.

6-29-21 Meerkats in zoos don’t put as much effort into social niceties
Meerkats in zoos fight over food more aggressively, are pickier about which of their peers they groom and have less stable relationships than those living in the wild. This may be due to living such a comfortable life, free of predators and with food and housing reliably available without having to work together for it, says Xareni Pacheco at the Autonomous University of Mexico State. “In a confined space, where conditions rarely change and are fairly predictable, individuals may freely adjust their social dynamics with the group members at any moment, without losing benefits like food, reproductive mates or predation protection,” she says. Pacheco built her study of meerkats on the decade-long work of her colleague Joah Madden at the University of Exeter, UK. Madden’s team observed the social interactions of more than 100 living in eight groups in South Africa. It was a “unique opportunity” for studying non-primates in the wild, because the groups had become habituated to humans and let the researchers study them up-close and in detail, he says. He and his colleagues used this information to develop a behaviour checklist specifically for studying meerkat social networks. Using Madden’s chart, Pacheco spent 300 hours observing 113 meerkats living in 15 groups across 13 zoos in the UK and Mexico, most of which had enclosures that closely resemble their native southern African habitats. She recorded 5689 social interactions. Pacheco found that the meerkats in captivity were more selective when choosing which friends to groom, resulting in less popular meerkats rarely getting groomed. Dominant meerkats also fought with fewer individuals but more aggressively, growling at, “hip-slamming” and biting other individuals. Previous studies have compared the behaviour of wild and captive primates, birds and fish, but this is the first one to directly compare specific interactions using animals in so many groups.

Meerkat Manor
The Story Begins

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins
for describing the complex behaviors, society,
and culture of South African Meerkats.